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Project # 3 Prompt & Rubrics

Jessica Joy Leatherman

This essay prompt is written for an in-class reflection essay; prompting a

timed writing of 50 minutes. This will be the second in-class essay in the
second week of a writing for proficiency course based on literary analysis for
high intermediate and advanced ESL learners. The overall goal of the 16
week course is to increase writing proficiency in academic writing through
the analysis of literature and literary devices.

The theory behind the course is the process theory of composition.

The course strategy is for students to begin with writing a series of
reflective/response essays in response to their reading of literary works;
then they will expand their writing toward expressing their own
interpretation of poems through the writing of poetry analysis essays. By the
end of the course students should be comfortable and adept at writing a
poetry analysis. The students will gain lots of practice in writing fiveparagraph essays with opportunities for revision and refinement. Students
will practice using critical thinking and analysis skills through writing poetry
analysis and reflection essays which are important genres of academic

The content of the course (and the prompt) is extremely pertinent to ESL
learners. The literary content of the course gives the student a constant
cultural element via the reading input (which is literature- a product of
human culture and human experience). The students will learn a great deal

about English speaking cultures through the literary analyses of important

writers in the English Canon throughout the course. Specifically for this
writing prompt, students will be able to enter the writing process by the
emotional/nostalgic response that they will have to their reading of the

The goal of the first two weeks is to teach and reinforce the construction of
the 5 paragraph essay and to introduce literary devices. We will focus
primarily on the use of metaphors as well as the concept of dilemma.

In week one we will discuss the idea of a canon. To activate students

various schemas, we will define what is the English Canon and discuss the
important and great works of literature in their countries as well. We will
discuss what makes a good education.

The first author in the course series is Robert Frost. Our first reading will be
Frosts address Education by Poetry given at Amherst College in 1930. The
first week of class we will have read and analyzed the address as well as
done in an class response essay based on the two roles that Frost says that
poetry plays in education: 1.) We cultivate our tastes through poetry & 2.)
Poetry teaches us how to discern and understand metaphor in our lives. We
will focus on the metaphor by discussing the definition of metaphor and the
use of metaphor in literature as well as discuss Frosts ideas of metaphor.

In week two we will analyze Frosts poem The Road Not Taken. The
students will be given pre-reading questions as well as be asked to consider
what Frost has to say about metaphor in regard to the poem. We will also
study a poetry analysis essay of the poem. Additionally, we will have
discussed extensively the use of metaphor prior to the second timed essay
writing so that they will be well prepared to respond to the writing prompt.

The Road Not Taken is one of Frosts poems that follows his description of
poetry which he gave in his address, Education by Poetry. Frost states
that Poetry begins in trivial metaphors, pretty metaphors, grace
metaphors, and goes on to the profoundest thinking that we have. He says
that, Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and
meaning another Unless you are at home in the metaphor , unless you
have had your proper poetical education in the metaphor, you are not safe
(Frost). We will discuss the concept of metaphor as well as discuss the
concept of archetypal dilemma that is brought up in a poetry analysis essay
of Frosts address which we will read in conjunction with the poem.

The response essay written for this prompt will serve to illustrate the
students learning and understanding of the targeted poetic device/s in the
readings (the use of metaphor, the concept of dilemma). The students

essays will also gauge the students ability to craft a five part essay while
incorporating complex ideas and analysis.

The rubric that I am using is a rubric given to me which I have revised for
the assessment needs generated from this writing prompt that I have
created. Primarily, I was given this rubric as a student in Dr. Jennifer
Smiths class. Dr. Smith in my mentor in a GA pilot program through which I
will receive (hopefully) transcription of TA teaching experience. She used
this rubric to assess me in a graduate level Spanish literature course. She
assessed me and other native and non-native speakers of Spanish for our
300 word compositions (in Spanish) with this rubric. When I began the
reflection process for this Teaching L2 English Composition course, I
realized that of all my professors in the Spanish department, I had
appreciated her rubrics the most. As such I asked her for them and gained
permission to use them in my teaching writing endeavors.

This revised rubric is designed to assess the particular requirements of the

five-paragraph essay written in response to my writing prompt. I gave
content thirty points as it is in the beginning of our overall essay writing
process for the course and the most pertinent for this stage in their writing
development for the courses goals. I gave organization and vocabulary
twenty points apiece which gives them a combined value worth forty percent
for the essay. Vocabulary is very important for this essay as proper use

shows mastery of the literary devices and themes learned in class.

Organization of the essay will assess the students ability to present clear
flow of ideas, as well as illustrate the students ability to categorize and
make connections about literature. I gave grammar a weight of 25% which
emphasizes its importance especially at this advanced level of ESL student
writing. Lastly, I gave five points to mechanics.

I have learned a lot from the Project #3 process. What strikes me about
constructing this project most is the importance of creating a learning goal
for the student that is then mirrored in the prompt and rubric. An output
essay needs to be created by the student which appropriately and
adequately reflects the input that the student received. By choosing a
reading and then creating a learning concept based on the reading, and then
creating the rationale, and finally the prompt, I have been able to learn by
doing. In the process I am facilitating the process theory of composition, by
presenting the parts necessary that the students need to complete their
writing processes. It is abundantly clear to me now how this process works.
In a sense, it is a circular reflection: from choosing the input to create and
elicit the output goal then to the assessment of the students output which
should be a direct reflection of the writing process as well as of the
vocabulary and ideas learned through the class readings and activities
(which brings us back to the input again). Thus the process is circular and
begins with the learning goal created for the student.

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

by Robert Frost

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Project #3 Prompt & Rubrics

Jessica Joy Leatherman

The Road Not Taken or is it The Road Taken ?

The speaker in Robert Frosts poem has a dilemma in that he has to choose
between a fork in the road. The roads appear similar; so there is a hard
choice to be made as the speaker walks into the unknown.

Think about a time in your life when you came to a cross-roads or a fork in
the road; a time when you had to make a life-changing decision that could
forever change your path. Reflect on your experience and Frosts poem to
write a five-part response essay that is clear and well organized. Apply
Frosts metaphor to your life and give examples of how The Road Not
Taken or The Road Taken has shaped your experience. Explain how the
author teaches us about life through his use of metaphor in his poem and
how you can apply this same metaphor to your life.


Jessica Joy Leatherman

Evaluation Criteria for Essay Writing Assignments

30-27 EXCELLENT - VERY GOOD: Substantive, thorough development that
is relevant to assigned topic. Ideas and/or opinions are clearly
presented. Great use of examples and details. 5 paragraphs
26-22 GOOD AVERAGE: Adequate development that is mostly relevant to
topic, but sometimes lacks details and/or examples. Occasionally a
passage is unclear. 5 paragraphs
21-17 FAIR - POOR : Inadequate development of topic. Insufficient usage
of examples and details.
Difficult to understand. Less than 5 paragraphs
16-13 VERY POOR: Undeveloped and/or not pertinent to topic, or not
enough to evaluate.
Insufficient usage of examples and details. Difficult to understand.
Less than 5 paragraphs
20-18 EXCELLENT- VERY GOOD: Clear thesis and topic sentences. Ideas
clearly stated and supported. Logical sequencing. Cohesive.
17-14 GOOD AVERAGE: Clear thesis and topic sentences. Somewhat
choppy. Sometimes loosely organized, but main ideas still stand out.
Mostly logical sequencing.
13-10 FAIR POOR:

Poorly developed thesis and/or topic sentences.

Ideas confused and

disconnected. Lacks logical sequencing and development.


VERY POOR : No organization or not enough to evaluate.


20-18 EXCELLENT - VERY GOOD: Broad, accurate, and effective

word/idiom choice and usage. Correct word forms. Appropriate
17-14 GOOD - AVERAGE : Adequate range and use of words/idioms.
Occasional errors of word/idiom form or choice but meaning not
obscured. Word choice may lack variety. Sometimes register is
13-10 FAIR POOR:

Limited range and use of words/idioms. Frequent

errors of word/idiom form, choice and usage. Meaning confused or

obscured. Some literal translations and invented words.
Inappropriate register.

VERY POOR: Incorrect use of words/idioms and word form;

abundance of invented words and literal translations. Not enough to

25-22 EXCELLENT - VERY GOOD: Most grammar is used appropriately.

Very few or no errors.
21-18 GOOD AVERAGE: Much of the grammar is used appropriately.
Occasional errors.
17-11 FAIR POOR: Some of the grammar is used appropriately and/or

frequent errors.

VERY POOR: Abundance of grammar errors.

Mechanics (Spelling, Punctuation, Capitalization)

EXCELLENT - VERY GOOD: Very few or no errors.

GOOD AVERAGE: Occasional errors.

FAIR POOR: Frequent errors.

VERY POOR: Abundance of errors.


Jessica Joy Leatherman

Frost, R. (1920). The Road Not Taken. Mountain interval. New York:
Henry Holt and Company.

Frost, R. (November 15, 1930). Education by Poetry. Amherst Alumni

Council conducted from Amherst College. Amherst.
Smith, J. Personal Communication, October 20, 2014.